My husband and I took the ASA 101, 103, 104 and 114 courses with Captain G in November, 2014. We were on the Catamaran with two other guys we’d never met. By the end of the week, we were a well oiled crew!
First and foremost, it’s not a vacation. It’s school, classes, work, studying all set in a beautiful location. Exactly what we signed up for. Was it hard? Heck yeah! Was it worth it? Heck yeah!
Our books (4 in total) were sent to us months ahead and we read through each and every one and took the practice tests at the end before we headed down to the islands. We re-read parts while we were on the boat as well. If you didn’t read those books, for whatever reason, it’s going to be darned near impossible to pass the tests. It’s simply too much to cram into one week without prior preparation.
Here’s our typical day: up early & make the coffee & breakfast (we did the cooking except for the one morning Captain G made the most glorious pancakes & coconut syrup). Study our books & notes and discuss among ourselves anything someone was struggling with. We took a written test 4 of the mornings. After the test, Captain G would grade them and we’d go over any wrong answers and discuss them so we all had a clear understanding of what and why we answered the way we did. After that it was engine checks by all and readying the boat for sailing. We’d sail until late afternoon where we had a little time for snorkeling & swimming. Then we all took turns making dinner & cleaning up or we’d eat out (yes, we bought the Captain’s meals – I believe it’s customary and when you split that cost of one meal between 4 it’s not that big of a deal). We’d read a little more of our books and be sound asleep by 9-10 pm.
We ALL took turns sailing, tacking, man overboard drills, etc. Were there times I was afraid to do something? Yes. Did Captain G make me do them? (hello Mediterranean mooring!) Yes. Was I happy she made me? Yes. I was the only woman student (and older than the other 2 guys – I’m 50) and the empowering feeling of sailing that 40′ cat by myself was incredible. I’ll thank Captain G for that one.
If you take a step back and think of this, maybe it puts things in perspective: The sailing school Captain is in charge of a 40′ vessel with 4 (mostly) novice boaters. She’s responsible for the students safety and the boat. Is Captain G all butterflies & unicorns? No. But she’s a very competent & patient instructor. Never once did I see her lose her temper with any of us and she had ample opportunity at times given our inexperience.
So, how does the story end for us? We passed all our tests and we are now officially ASA 101, 103, 104 and 114 certified. In March, 2015 we chartered a 38′ cat in the BVI’s and took our family sailing for a week. We captained ourselves and felt totally confident in our abilities. We’ve got a 40′ cat chartered in the BVI’s for this November.”